Tea Ropati

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Tea Ropati
Personal information
Full name Tea Faa'tea Ropati
Born (1964-09-07) September 7, 1964 (age 51)
Auckland, New Zealand
Playing information
Height 183 cm (6 ft 0 in)
Weight 93kg
Position Centre, Five-eighth
Years Team Pld T G FG P
Otahuhu Leopards 1
1988 Newcastle Knights 2 0 1 0 2
1989–1994 St Helens 129 56 24 2 274
1991 Mangere East Hawks
1995–1998 Auckland Warriors 72 26 0 0 104
Total 204 82 25 2 380
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1986–1997 New Zealand 9 0 0 0 0
1994–1996 Western Samoa 2 0 0 0 0
Source: RLP

Tea Faa'tea Ropati[1] (born 7 September 1964 in Auckland, New Zealand) is a former rugby league player who represented New Zealand and Western Samoa. He is currently the assistant coach with the Mangere East Hawks.

Tea is a member of the large Ropati rugby league family that includes fellow league players Joe Ropati, John Ropati, Iva Ropati, union player Romi Ropati and SKY league commentator Peter Ropati.

Tea is married, to Vanessa (née Hawken), and has 5 children.

Early years[edit]

Tea played for both the Mangere East Hawks and Otahuhu Leopards in the Auckland Rugby League competition. He was a Junior Kiwi in 1983.[2]

During the 1987 season Ropati played for Auckland alongside three of his brothers; John, Joe and Peter.[3]

This feat was bettered in the 1991 season when all four of them, plus brother Iva, twice lined up for Mangere East in the Auckland Rugby League competition.[3]

Playing career[edit]

Ropati started his professional career with the Newcastle Knights in 1988 before moving to England. Playing for St. Helens he made a name for himself as a Centre/Five Eighth who kicked goals. He also won the 1992/3 British First Division player of the year award.

Tea Ropati played Centre, i.e. number 4, in St. Helens's 24-14 victory over Rochdale Hornets in the 1991 Lancashire Cup final during the 1991–92 season at Wilderspool Stadium, Warrington, on Sunday 20 October 1991, and played Stand-off/Five-eighth in the 4-5 defeat by Wigan in the 1992 Lancashire Cup final during the 1992–93 season at Knowsley Road, St. Helens, on Sunday 18 October 1992.[4]

In 1995 he returned home to join the new Auckland Warriors in the First Australian Rugby League premiership. He was the Warriors player of the year in 1995. He stayed with the Warriors for four seasons before retiring after the 1998 season.

Representative career[edit]

Ropati represented the New Zealand Kiwis between 1986 and 1997 and also played for Western Samoa at the 1995 Rugby League World Cup.

Later years[edit]

Ropati participated in the charity boxing event Fight for Life on several occasions during the early 2000s.

In 2010 Ropati is the assistant coach with the Mangere East Hawks in the Auckland Rugby League competition.[5]

Rape trial[edit]

On 21 January 2008 Ropati began a trial in Auckland on charges of rape and unlawful sexual connection, to which he pleaded not guilty.[6] The woman stated she awoke in a car near Victoria Park. "I remember coming to. I remember an angry face over me. It was an angry, twisted face. I remember being in pain."[7] Ropati was married at the time, and although he admitted the sexual connection he stated that it was consensual.

On 31 January 2008 a jury found him not guilty on all six charges.[8] Multiple rugby league personalities defended the character of Ropati in court including the Mad Butcher Peter Leitch.


  1. ^ ROPATI, Tea Faa'tea 1986, 1989, 1992 - 93, 19 - Kiwi #596 nzleague.co.nz
  2. ^ Richard Becht. A New Breed Rising: The Warriors Winfield Cup Challenge. Auckland, HarperCollins, 1994. ISBN 1-86950-154-3. p.183
  3. ^ a b Coffey and Wood The Kiwis: 100 Years of International Rugby League ISBN 1-86971-090-8
  4. ^ "1992–1993 Lancashire Cup Final". wigan.rlfans.com. 31 December 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  5. ^ "What they said", Super League, Issue 1 2010. p.17
  6. ^ David Eames (21 January 2008). "League star in sex case named". The New Zealand Herald. 
  7. ^ "Footballer Tea Ropati accused of rape". The Daily Telegraph. 21 January 2008. 
  8. ^ Andrew Koubaridis (31 January 2008). "Ropati not guilty on all charges". The New Zealand Herald. 

External links[edit]